Saturday, March 4, 2017

Book II Queen Alice Audiobook


The wait is almost over!
Soon to be released on Audible.com, Book II completes the fairy tale adventure epic "Shards of the Glass Slipper" series. Picking up where Book I ended, this audiobook, sees the return of narrator Christopher Crosby Morris and includes music and sound effects to continue the enhanced listening experience!


it's over 15 hours of  listener excitement!

"In preparation for this undertaking, I had to greatly expanse the resources adding several gigs- over 40 dvd's of brand new sound effect libraries" and even harder to come by were many new musical scores. Familiar sound effects and musical themes still came through, however, helping to maintain a full cohesive feel between the two audiobooks. 

There were many new characters and places to explore. "In Book II, we spend time in Wonderland.. so what does a place like Wonderland sound like? We meet the Caterpillar (who is voiced incredibly well by Narrator Christopher Morris)". There are some many interesting battles, like Goldenhair's charge of animals and the Wonderland siege.  It was a challenge to find just the right sounds to bring the listener in as a part of the story. There are dragons, Jabberwocks, and dodo birds that come to life with sound.
One of the many challenges faced in book II was that the story unfolds not just in the present, but throughout different locations and times. While visually in print it is easy enough to convey,  "it was something Christopher and I were keenly aware of ..." turns out musical cues were the way to go to help divide various sections. For certain scenes in the book that were flashbacks to events in the first book, we even pulled the same audio in from the first book (it works because it's the same narrator and style.)

There were some serious delays in production this time around. Initial narration recording delays happened, that  were due to other projects that Christopher Morris was involved in. But the most significant delay happened during post production when Roy Mauritsen's mother passed away in 2015. " It took over a year to emotionally and creatively get back to finishing the audiobook".

The process  is very time consuming. And rather lonely. "It's just me on the computer with head phones on." Each chapter is recorded and can be 10 minutes to almost an hour in length. The narration file is reviewed. cleaned up, edited, polished. Then it's a matter of  listening for what appropriate sound effect is need at a particular time.. and going through the various sound effect libraries to find the correct sound, then folding it in to the mix. Sometimes combing through all of the libraries can take an hour. Then on to the next sound effect. Sometimes ambient sounds are used. Wind through trees and chirping birds to help convey the sense of being in forest. Or waves crashing and lapping on a beach if need be. It's filling in those little details that help tell the story. Some scenes might require multiple sounds or might work with a L to R pan. Once sound effects are layered in, next comes musical scoring.  "I can spend hours and days listening  to potential music. I would take time to download a sample track and try it out only to have it not sound great, and I would try a different score. sometimes for one scene I'd try three or four different musical hits before deciding which works the best. Music is important so I spent a lot of time making sure I get the right feel to it". Some scenes call for certain music.  Snow White has a particular theme throughout both books  as does a few other characters so it's a little easier to place those piece of music.  Music really helps to underscore the emotional weight of a scene. "If I need a dramatic impact of a particular piece of music to land at an emotional point of the narration, that helps define where the music needs to go.  Once those keystones are in place, I can build up musical cues and underscores around it.  Some musical tracks I have are layered, so I can extend a piece of music by removing the drum track or dropping out the strings track. Sometimes, a musical track will sync up perfectly with the narration and that makes me feel like I'm really doing something special when that happens". Once that is in place.. the whole chapter is listened to several more times, getting tweaked and final production levels in place. One audiobook chapter can take a week of work. Sometimes a short chapter can get done over a weekend.  There are over 30 chapters in Book II alone. It is reviewed on professional grade Sennheiser headphones for any minute discrepancies in the sound mix, then again on studio monitors (THX certified btw) and finally it is listened to in the car. As well as it can be mixed, In the end the final listening experience is always going to depend on the listener.

It's really an amazing experience to hear the story come to life this way. Not just by having it read by someone professionally, but hearing the environment of the story, sometimes it the subtle sound effects of paper rustling, the creaking of saddle leather  that help bring the story to life. " I always felt that audibly there was so much potential than just listening to someone read a story.  And there are people that are excellent at that. But sounds and music is already an integral way that we as humans help interpret the world around us. Why limit the listener experience to just the one sound of the narrator? Why listen to a narrator read about being in forest when with sound you could easily be transported there?" There's the clang of swords, and arrows that whiz by you that will make you duck. reflexively. There's the musical score that will take a sad moment and make it that much more heartbreaking. The feel of danger or adventure, wonderment and the musical swell of victory. All of that, that is already apart of the story, now comes across more acutely with music and sound that will draw you in. 

Start listening the Shards of the Glass Slipper Book I Queen Cinder here!
Book II is expected to be available shortly.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Book II Audiobook


It's not the final cover art but the audiobook for Queen Alice is moving along at full throttle!  All of the narration has been recorded. We're half way through the book now... working hard at laying down the musical underscores and added sound effects similar to how the first audiobook was produced!  It should sound nearly identical and you would be able to finish book I and start book II almost seamlessly! Audio-wise there are some new challenges to deal with in creating the immersive audio "world" of book II. It requires spending more time making and recording many unique sounds.

It's been a longer delay than I would have preferred in getting this into final production, but I am hopeful it will be available this winter!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Audiobook for Book II Queen Alice

 Work has begun on the final mixing and mastering for the audiobook for Shards of the Glass Slipper: Book II Queen Alice. Hopefully to be out by the end of the year on Audible.com!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Audiobook is available & 5 things to know about the Syrenka story...

Good news!  The Syrenka audiobook is available now at CDBaby! You can listen to the first segment and purchase it here: Listen now!

With the debut of Shards of the Glass Slipper: Syrenka in enhanced audiobook format, we thought we'd share some tidbits regarding it. So with that said here's 5 things to know about Syrenka:


  1. The story is based off of the Original Hans Christian Andersen tale NOT Disney's version. Obviously, or I'd be sued by the mouse and his army of lawyers! Luckily, the original tale is public domain.  The story of Syrenka takes place as an almost direct sequel the Hans Christian Andersen tale and there are quotes, details and other references related from the original tale.   The names had to be developed in the original tale her sisters did not have names (The Disney version gives them names as well as naming the main character Ariel.) The name Syrenka was derived from an older  mythological reference and is sort of a commonly used name. It most likely originates from the Greek mythology  stories of  the beautiful but deadly Sirens that lured sailors to their doom.
  2.  The Syrenka short story first appeared in Mermaids 13 from Padwolf Publishing.  The Little Mermaid was one of my favorite fairy tales but it was a bit of a tragic ending. So in writing my fairy tale epic Shards of the Glass Slipper, I want to give the Little Mermaid character a better ending. When we meet her in the novel she is older and further along in her condition. Mermaids 13 gave me an opportunity to fill in more of her background. Even though everyone is somewhat familiar with the character, it allowed me to bridge my character from the story everyone was familiar with to the larger story of Shards of the Glass Slipper. Though the story Syrenka takes place before the events in the novel it's a stand alone story. It'a the only story that features a character  from the Shards of the Glass Slipper story outside of the two epic novels.
  3.  With music and sound effects it resembles a radio play rather than a traditionally recorded audiobook. I have a fantastic working relationship with a skilled narrator as Christopher Crosby Morris who narrated the audiobook for Shards of the Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder and is currently recording Book II: Queen Alice). and most audiobooks will just stop at the narration part. with good reason- audiobooks are generally cost prohibitive to produce. Then layering sound effects and music even moreso ads to the cost and it's a skill many authors are not familiar with.  As it happens to be, I'm not only author and artist but I've done professional work in sound and music mixing for television commercials. So I have the knowledge and resources to successfully attempt something like this. That being said it still is not cheap and takes time.  Some of the sounds I recorded and did foley work myself.( yes I did splash around in my pool with my recording equipment to get sounds for Syrenka). Other music and sound effects I have to search through several sound  and music libraries  I own, which takes time to go through to find the perfect sounds and if I can't find it there I might have to find and purchase. Then there's the time to mix everything together. The Syrenka short story in about an hour in length and took me almost two weeks to to put together. That said, Shards of the Glass Slipper  Queen Cinder is nearly 16 hours long. Not every description in the book requires sound and music does not play throughout. But when  you want to emphasize  action or a scene  it's amazing how that swell of music or that dramatic pause really drives the narrative home. more so than a book or even just a traditional narration. Sound really can help set the mood  and immerse the listener. For audiobooks you are not reading you are listening. in underscore sound effects you'll hear a familiar sound and recognize it in a more primal fashion than you would just listening to a narration. There are those narration-only purists out there that prefer not to have any music or sound. I do think that with the developing of digital technology, this will become a more familiar way to experience an audiobook.
  4. There are many relevant themes that emerged from Syrenka. I think because it's a fairy tale  it's very easy to dismiss the character or the story as children's fare. But in really explore this story  like any true fairy tale there are much darker and adult subject at it's core. If you  stop and think about the main character must grapple with disability. She is rendered unable to speak for starters.Additionally,  she grapples with overcoming considerable pain  and bleeding in her legs. When we meet her again in Shards Of the Glass Slipper, Syrenka has considerable difficulty using her legs. another theme that emerged as the story was developed was of acceptance. In the Story of the little Mermaid, the main character discards her normal upbringing and changes to try to be accepted by another group of people.  A change that is not entirely understood by her family. It's a relatable story especially when discussion of racial divides, gender identification and equality and acceptance are still in the headlines today. Another theme  that is an undercurrent in the story is one of protection and ocean conservation. which is something that has interested me for many years and I was able to weave some of that into the plot as a well.
  5. Syrenka audiobook will NOT be available on audible.com For a simple reason... Audible  needs to connect the audiobook to the print or ebook version on Amazon. Since Syrenka is a story that appears in the Mermaids 13 anthology  and that book was not recorded in it's entirety, Audible.com is not capable of offering anything that does not already exist on Amazon. For me to do Syrenka through Audible I'd have to create an independent ebook just for the Syrenka story, which I felt would be unfair to the other authors in the Mermaids 13 anthology and would be a headache for the publsiher to navigate as well. Cd Baby is not affiliated with Audible.com but has the advantage of distribution models that will make  Syrenka available on amazon.com as an amazon mp3 album and itunes as well.
You can purchase the audiobook for Shards Of The Glass Slipper on Audible.com Here

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Syrenka audiobook announced!

Roy Mauritsen's short story entitled Syrenka which first appeared in Padwolf publishing's Mermaids 13 anthology (which you can buy in it's entirety here)  will soon be available as an audio-book "short story". Appearing on itunes, amazon and other places like CDBaby. rather than the traditional audio-book giant audible, which due to limitations of it's inventory structure was unable to carry this title; as Syrenka only appears as part of an anthology and is not available otherwise..

Syrenka is narrated by Christopher Crosby Morris who narrated Shards Of the Glass Slipper- Book I:Queen Cinder and will be narrating For Book II: Queen Alice which will be released  later in 2016. Both the novel length audio-books as well as the Syrenka short story features music and sound effects to further enhance the listener experience. Syrenka is over an hour in length and will be available for download only, priced for $9.99.

The Syrenka short story is a stand alone prequel that takes place after the events of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid but prior to the events  Roy's mauritsens fairy tale epic Shards of the Glass Slipper.